Raleigh, N.C.

fastest growing metro areas raleigh
  • Population: 1.2 million
  • % gain : 2.2%
  • New residents: 26,012

Along with the cities of Durham and Chapel Hill, Raleigh forms North Carolina's Research Triangle, an area rich with tech companies and universities including Duke, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State.

The universities are not only among the area's largest employers, but they also "add to the local quality of life by providing access to excellent healthcare, arts and sports," said Harvey Schmitt, CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

Related: 10 Best Places to Retire

And in recent years, hiring has really picked up. In January, the unemployment rate was 5.5%, down nearly two percentage points from a year earlier.

Companies have plenty to entice new recruits with: Housing is affordable, only about 10% higher than the national norm, while incomes are nearly 20% higher.

First published March 27, 2014: 12:25 AM ET
Source: Based on U.S. Census Bureau population data for July 1, 2012 through July 1, 2013. Rankings are based on largest percentage population growth in metro areas with a population of one million or more.

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